How to close a sale

Whether by telephone or in-person, the key advantage for a salesperson is obtained when one has confidence in you and your product or service. As all human relationships are complex, the same can be said of sales transactions between the seller and the buyer of the goods or services. This relationship requires special care from the initial handshake (or phone call) to the closing.

As first impressions are important, impression management of your initial contact as a salesperson with a potential client is crucial. If this initial meeting occurs face-to-face, good eye contact and a firm (but not bone crushing) handshake will be imperative. Poor eye contact and/or a limp handshake does not spell confidence, in fact, it denotes just the opposite.

If this occurs on the phone, a pleasant voice with “a smile in it” inspires confidence. Keep a mirror on your desk and make sure you are actually smiling as you present your idea, proposal, or service. Happy people are perceived as successful. People like to do business with those they feel are winners and avoid people who appear as losers on their “psychic radar”.

Once this hurdle is surmounted the next is “follow-through”. Be sure to follow up at the appointed time, with the requested information or presentation. This establishes your reputation as a “can do” person with integrity. If you have to deny or modify your customer’s request, do it with positive power phrases.

Focus on what you can do, and not what you can’t. Make the customer feel that they have many options and choices and that you will provide satisfaction as promised. Do not commit to something that you may not be able to do, because, at this stage, a broken promise compromises the customer faith and damage control may be impossible. Better to promise a little and exceed expectations than talk too big and have it fall through.

Only when you have clearly demonstrated that you can meet or exceed your client’s expectations, is it time to ask them to commit. Recap what you have to offer, what you have done so far to demonstrate this, and most importantly why it would be in his or her best interest to choose you (and in extension your company). Get it in writing as soon as possible.

A closing handshake or verbal agreement is part of the closing process but until money or contracts have changed hands many agreements are tentative at best. If your client is reluctant to commit financially or on paper, find out what the obstacle is and resolve it. Then persuade the client that this paperwork or check signing is in their best interest.

The key thread throughout the sales process is to inspire confidence. Confidence in you as a representative of a company, confidence in what you can offer and can deliver, and confidence that you deserve their commitment and hopefully, return business in the future.

The key thread

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